Manufacturing again targeted in Arena cost cutting

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Arena, developer of obesity med Belviq, knows something about slimming down. For the second time in 9 months, the San Diego-based drug company will slim itself, cutting jobs and costs, with manufacturing again taking a hit.

Arena ($ARNA) said last week it is cutting its workforce by 73% as it pivots its focus to its clinical-stage pipeline and as Belviq sales fail to develop as it had hoped. It will eliminate about 100 jobs in the process. The job cuts will hit manufacturing, as well as research and general and administrative functions. The company expects it will cut annual costs by between $23 million and $25 million. It was short on details but said that it “plans to implement additional cost control measures to further reduce its expenditures, including reductions at its Swiss manufacturing facility.”

The reorganization is no surprise given the difficulties that Belviq has faced since launching in 2013. Despite a hefty investment from marketing partner Eisai--a DTC campaign and a rep army hundreds strong--the med has not taken off. In last year’s Q4, Arena netted just $3.9 million in royalties on just $8 million in Eisai sales--a topline haul for the Japanese drugmaker that declined for the fourth straight quarter.

In October, Arena had made similar cuts. At that time, it said it would reduce its U.S. workforce by 35%, about 80 employees, in an effort to realize about $11 million in annual costs. In October, it also indicated it would do "additional cost-cutting, including at its Swiss manufacturing facility."

- here’s the release

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